The Cowboy trail runs 321 miles across northern Nebraska and is known for a good biking or running trail, but there is a lot more to it than meets the eye.
Two people from the university of Nebraska at Kearney are finding the stories that started this trail.
UNK Professor Lorene Jacobson and Undergraduate research assistant Holly Green can tell you almost anything about the Cowboy trail. They have talked to communities, read books, visited museums, and even traveled the whole trail themselves.
Years of research and asking questions is leading them to one goal; sharing the stories of the cowboy trail in a documentary.
“We visit with the people that you know, that was their grandfather,” Lorene Jacobsen said. “It was their sister that rode the orphan train. It was their grandfather that cut the ice in Valentine to put on the trains and transport.”
They have taken the stories that historians have recorded and then went to the communities to get the rest of the stories.
“And it has been an amazing experience working with people,” Holly Green explained. “And learning the true nature from the decedents of the people who have lived that story.”
From going off to war, to ancestor being bought off the orphan train, Jacobson and Green are finding that through the good and bad stories, communities still proudly share their heritage.
“Sometimes things aren’t always the way they want them to be. But they would not change their small towns for the world,” said Jacobsen.
They have visited nearly every town along the trail. They have met dozens of local residents that have open their homes and their family history all for this documentary.
“When we started, we just wanted to get tiny stories from all these towns. And now people have welcomed us into their homes, their communities,” Jacobsen explained. “The soul of Nebraska is giving and kindness, and we have seen it everywhere.”
The finished documentary is still over a year away, and Jacobson and Green are still working to make sure that they have all the stories they need. They are always looking for more fascinating people and stories. To contact them about stories or people, email firstname.lastname@example.org.